Sunday, November 27, 2011

Making a Holiday Plan

For most of us, the upcoming holiday season will be difficult. It doesn’t matter if your child died last month, last year, 5 years ago or over 10 years ago. We never forget what the holidays were like when they were around: the joy, the laughter, and the delicious meals. Anything they were a part of will always be in our hearts. We will never forget them or the time we were fortunate to spend with them.

Each year I make a plan with five ideas in mind that were given to me by a friend.

First, I predict that the most difficult parts of the holiday season for me will be seeing the joy on a child’s face just as I used to see it on my child: the first time she got to put ornaments on a Christmas tree, the first time she got to go caroling, or later on, the first time she got to bring a gift to a senior home. I will also not be able to buy a gift for my child, even though I’m sure I know what she’d want. Just going shopping, knowing I’d see that special light in her eyes when she opened the package was a great feeling.

Second, the most difficult people to be with might be those who have children my daughter’s age. They now would have children of their own, and I dream of what it would be like for my child to have her own family. I have been to dinners with those who have no surviving children and, although it is sad, at least I don’t have to listen to all the news about the children and grandchildren.

Third, words that would be helpful for me to hear would be my child’s name in a conversation. I don’t want others to forget her. I never will. And when her name comes up and a story about her is told, it is like music to my ears. Memories are all I have now, and I cherish anything that someone else remembers that I may not have known or that triggers another story that I can personally tell.

Fourth, my support people (those who can hear my grief) are my husband, relatives and very dear friends. My husband (not my daughter’s father and never met my daughter) likes to hear stories and is very supportive of anything I may want to do or in her honor. For example, he always accompanies me to the cemetery whenever I feel like going, and he knows how important doing little things in her honor or memory is to me. A few relatives and very close friends are also comforting with thoughts, words and deeds that make me feel good.

Fifth, this year I want to include the following traditions in my holiday celebrations: I want to have people over for dinner who I enjoy being with, particularly those who knew my daughter and are not afraid to bring up her name in conversations. I also want to help disadvantaged kids. I am collecting items and money to buy things for them that they need, according to various organizations. And finally, I’m considering helping serve Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners to those who are homeless. Volunteering is always rewarding.

Think about these five ideas and what has happened in your life. Then fill in these phrases and sentences for your own personal holiday plan, and you may find it a rewarding season for your family and others.

1 comment:

  1. Great ideas! Thank you for sharing. I will use them this year for my first Christmas without my beloved Andy.